Alice Springs to Aileron
Up = 305m - Down = 209m - Highest Point = 731m
ALICE SPRINGS TO AILERON ROADHOUSE – 3rd September 2017
Back on the bike after a day off – and 4 days of riding ahead of us before another rest day at Tennant Creek. After the hot temperatures of yesterday and with 140 kms to ride we decided to keep our start time at 7:00 am. We rolled out of the Big4 MacDonnell Ranges camp right on 7:00 am – and how exciting to see a face we knew at the gate waving excitedly!! It was Nicki who we had met 2 days ago when we went to the library!! When you are this far away, and seemingly way out in the “wop-wops” it is just so uplifting to see a familiar face!! Thanks Nicki for getting up early on your Sunday to come and see us – we REALLY did appreciate that!!
We were expecting a climb for the first 25 kms – and this turned out to be mostly true. It took us about 8 kms to wander through Alice Springs as we had camped on the southern end of Alice. I noticed two bike shops on our way out, and as well shops like Harvey Normans, Super Cheap etc. I hadn’t spied this side of town on my day off!
On the northern side just before we began to climb – a cycle-lane appeared – which was fabulous – and if there had been any traffic – it kept you well out of their way! It was a steady climb with some flat bits thrown in and for some strange reason – I really enjoyed the climb!! The day off must have done me good, and I just wanted to get out there and ride!
What probably contributed to the enjoyment was that we had a fabulous tail wind!! This is what we have been waiting for!!
We stopped at the “highest point” monument – so exciting – from now to Darwin it is all downhill!!!!! A few more kilometres along the road and we stopped for more photo’s as we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn!! We were now into the “rolling” part of the journey and with the tail wind we were (for us) fair racing along – often cruising between 35 and 40 kph!!
We had our lunch time meet up point scheduled for when we had done 100 kms – and we got there before 11:00 am – so 4 hours, including 3 photo stops and the initial “uphill” section - that shows just how well the wind was helping!
We kept hoping the tail wind would remain, and while it dropped off a bit, it was still helping us all day. Our final meet up was by Ryan’s Well. A fascinating place. I sourced data for this trip and planned it using googlemaps, wikicamps, and the camps8 book ………………. what I have found is quite a few inconsistencies with distances. From this last stop I was thinking we still had 12 – 15 kms to go – so we were all delighted to see a sign saying 7 kms to go!!
We rolled into the Aileron Roadhouse just before 1:00 pm – which was incredible for a 140 km day – 5 breaks including a lunch one – and still an early finish. For a slight moment I entertained using the wind and continuing – but the next roadhouse (Ti Tree) was still 60 kms away, and as the day was getting hotter, it was an easy thought to dismiss and take an early mark stopping at Aileron Roadhouse as planned!
There are some neat things here – and the Armatjere Man who you see as you come off the highway to the roadhouse is stunning. There is also a large woman and child and several other “arty” pieces around the grounds. I know I thoroughly enjoyed a good ride, followed by a nice hot shower, a cup of coffee and a bit of a rest, followed by a wander around this area to see the Man Walking and other things of interest!
With no mobile and internet coverage - the most popular spot seemed to be the CAT mobile reception stand!!
Our super supporter for today is Irish born, New Zealand author and finger-puppet maker - ERIN DEVLIN. Many thanks Erin for sending over your unique children's books with cd's and the gorgeous "kiwi" finger puppets to donate to communities along our route. Yesterday we gave some to Georgina Davidson - Head Librarian at Alice Springs Library who is going to use them in the Library as well as within a new yet to be embarked on project with indigenous people. I urge followers to check out Erin's website to see what this talented lady does!!!